ISLAMABAD - Although the Establishment Division makes top-level bureaucratic transfers and postings, ostensibly, based on an institutionalized merit system according to its mission statement, it seems, it needs to put its own house in order.

A group of junior officers of grade-19 of the same service group has been occupying five posts of grade-20 under the close watch of the Secretary Establishment Division. Interestingly, these officers, according to sources, also put hurdles in the preparation of the seniority list of officers of other services groups waiting for promotions by the Central Selection Board, The Nation has learnt.

The sources said that five deputy secretary level officers of Office Management Group (OMG) are occupying five posts of the joint secretary level under section-10 of the Establishment Division. According to sources, these officers have consistently been lobbying to remove Sarfraz Durrani, an officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), from the joint secretary slot to adjust another OMG officer.  

The sources said the four 19-grade officers — Joint Secretary Regulations Anjuma Bashir Shiekh, Joint Secretary Career Planning Omer Bin Zia, Joint Secretary Training Meeran Muhhuddin and Joint Secretary Discipline Zakaria — have been posted on grade-20 slots. Zakaria has also been given additional charge of Joint Secretary Litigation, the sources told The Nation.

According to the sources, the federal government has appointed these officers on key posts in the Establishment Division without promotions, over a dozen grade-20 officers of the PAS and other services groups are awaiting posting, or working as OSDs in Establishment Division.

They said that Miran Muhhiuddin, Zakaria, and Umer Zia, who belong to the 25th common group, influence the decision-making especially postings and transfers of junior officers with the support of senior joint secretary career and planning Establishment Division Ayub Chaudhry.

The sources claimed that of the four officers, three have been given the important slots on special recommendations of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Ayub Chaudhry, who also belongs to OMG, was promoted to grade-21 in the last Central Selection Board meeting.

The post of joint secretary career and planning (CP-2) is considered a key post in the Establishment Division and Chaudhry is looking after the affairs of transfer and postings of the police group as well as transfer and postings of grade-19 and grade-20 officers of all services groups.

A senior official of the Establishment Division, requesting not to be identified told The Nation that the OMG officers have launched a campaign against Durrani to remove him and put hurdles in promotions, transfer, and postings of other officers. The officer said that almost 20 officers of grade-20 of the PAS are on the waiting list of postings but they could not be appointed on vacant posts under the Establishment Division due to these OMG officers lobbying and influence.

He said that the young officers of different services groups especially the PAS were helpless and there was nobody in Establishment Division to listen to them. He said Establishment Division Additional Secretary Afzal Latif always avoids opening his office for subordinates to discuss their issues.

The officer said that Establishment Division Secretary Mian Asad Hayyuddin should take stock of the issue and appoint deserving officers of different services groups on senior posts instead of junior officers of only one group.

Establishment Division spokesperson Masood Akhtar Chaudhry said that the four officers of grade-19 had been posted on senior slots due to the shortage of officers.

He said that the four officers of grade-19 had been appointed under section-10 of the Establishment Division and they all were in the promotion zone and their performance was “good”. He denied that these officers were affecting the posting, transfer or promotion of any of the officers.